Friday, February 23, 2024

Annexation of ‘gores’ part of Raymond history

By Ernest H. Knight

When a grant of land was made to the Beverly, Massachusetts Proprietors in 1765 by the Court of Massachusetts Bay Colony, it was stated that this grant was to be in the unappropriated lands of the colony adjacent to a settled town. They were called gores and were thereafter known as unclaimed pieces of land lying between two adjacent townships in Maine.

At its inception, the Town of Raymond had five
of what is known as 'gores,' or unclaimed
pieces of land lying between adjacent townships
as shown on this 1839 map. These areas were
eventually annexed by the town or nearby
communities. COURTESY PHOTO
The proprietors, after advice and assistance by a Captain Skillin and viewing at least one other site settled up the Royal River from North Yarmouth, settled on what became known as Raymondtown adjacent for a short distance to New Marblehead, soon to change its name to Windham.

Raymondtown, as originally requested by the proprietors and granted by Massachusetts, was to run from the northerly corner of Windham (by Lakin Brook on Route 302 today) on a northeast course 7 1/2 miles, then 7 1/2 miles northwest over Tenney Hill, also 7 ½ miles northwest from the starting corner of Windham on the general course of Sebago Lake. As there was little to go by except the starting point, the lines did not necessarily have much relationship to the lines of the other towns then laid out or soon to be, which resulted in many errors.

As land was settled and the town lines developed, there were many homesteads and farmlands ending up in these gores, which meant that the heads of families could not vote in the affairs of the town, children could not attend schools and there were no taxes paid.

The gores on Raymondtown’s borders included:

** The Gray Gore, settled by families named Mussey, Hayden, and Plummer and this area was not annexed by the town of Raymond until 1859,

** The Poland Gore, settled in the 1830s by Henry Tenney, who appealed to the Maine Legislature to be taken into Raymond so his children could go to the Mountain Schoolhouse and so he could attend town meetings in Raymond instead of in the Town of Poland. This was done and the Tenneys became residents of Raymond.

** The Standish Gore on Raymond Cape was left when the Standish line crossed Sebago Lake from the tip of Standish Neck near White’s Bridge. This gore was settled by families named Mains, Meserve, Hasty, and Shaw. It was annexed by Raymond in 1859 while Standish Cape became part of Raymond in 1869.

** The Songo Gore, which was also known as the “Thousand Acre Parcel,” between the original northwest Raymondtown line and the shores of Sebago Lake and Songo River was taken into the town of Casco at some time after the separation of Casco from Raymond in 1841.

** The Hubbard Gore was a piece of land similar to the Songo Gore but on the opposite side of the Songo River from the Songo Gore. It is now part of Naples and was formed in 1829 from parts of Raymond, Sebago, Bridgton, Harrison and Otisfield.

The term “gore” is currently in general use only in Gore Road in Raymond, which is one of the roads from Route 85 to the Gray town line, through what was once part of the Gray Gore, and on to Little Sebago Lake as Aquilla Road.

A Raymond real estate agent once told a story that a woman contemplating the purchase of a home on that road was somewhat distressed at the thought of that being her address, imagining that some gory Indian massacre had taken place there. After learning the true origin of the name, she was much relieved and no longer kept it on her list of pros and cons about the purchase. <

This article was written by the late Ernest H. Knight, one of the founders of the Raymond-Casco Historical Society and contained in his book “Historical Gems of Raymond and Casco.” It was submitted by the Raymond-Casco Historical Society and articles about Raymond history from the historical society will appear regularly in The Windham Eagle newspaper. To find out more about the Raymond-Casco Historical Society, call Frank McDermott at 207-310-0340.

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